Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders is telling New Hampshire voters to prepare for “a lot of door knocking” as part of his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Sanders kicked off his first visit to the state since announcing his campaign with a house party in Manchester. He characterized himself as an underdog who can counter better-funded candidates with grassroots support from voters.
“The only way we win this thing is by a strong, grassroots, door to door campaign," Sanders said. "That’s what I believe in, that’s what I’ve always done in Vermont. In our last campaign in Vermont, you know how much money we spent on TV ads? Zero. Not a nickel. We put it all into grassroots organizing.”
Sanders told the crowd his campaign will largely focus on economic issues, in particular the growth in economic inequality. He also called for an overhaul of campaign finance law, a broader effort to address climate change, and $70 billion dollars a year more for higher education, which he says would be enough to give all American students the chance to attend a public college tuition-free.
Sanders said rising college costs and growing student debt loads are turning working class students away from higher education. “They’re looking at that and saying you know what, I don’t want to leave school 50 or 100 thousand dollars in debt, I’m not going to go to college. This is a loss to those individuals, but it is a loss to our entire economy.”
Sanders said he was planning to introduce legislation to make public colleges tuition-free, based on the model used in Germany. He said that plan would cost $70 billion a year, and could be paid for with the money lost each year in corporate tax evasion.